Man apologizes for yelling vulgar phrase at Halifax reporter during broadcast
By The Canadian Press
HALIFAX – A female reporter says she’s satisfied by a restorative justice process that saw a man apologize for yelling a vulgar phrase at her.
CTV Atlantic’s Heather Butts was broadcasting live from a Halifax pub on the World Junior Hockey Championship when Nash John Gracie made a crude gesture and uttered a sexually explicit comment on Dec. 29.
Butts said she is satisfied that the 25-year-old Nash has taken responsibility for his actions through the restorative justice process and has agreed to community service.
She says the incident is an example of the harassment many reporters have experienced over the years across North America. She says the process sends a message that these incidents will not be tolerated.
A spokesman for CTV says the network is “pleased the person responsible … is being held accountable through the restorative justice process,” adding it’s important journalists are able to do their jobs free of harassment.
Gracie was charged with public mischief and causing a disturbance. When the case was referred to restorative justice, his lawyer said the charges would be withdrawn once he completed the process.
The provincial website says restorative justice is “a response to crime that focuses on restoring the losses suffered by victims and communities.”
It says participants are given “an opportunity to talk about their concerns and to talk about the offence from their own perspective,” and that “the parties develop an understanding of the impact of the offence and the steps needed to make amends.”
In February, a provincial court in Newfoundland and Labrador dismissed a public disturbance charge against 28-year-old Justin Penton following a similar incident. Judge Colin Flynn said the sexist slur was vulgar and offensive, but not a crime under the circumstances.
Unifor, which represents the reporter in the Newfoundland incident, NTV’s Heather Gillis, issued a statement saying it was concerned about the judge’s decision, saying he “missed an opportunity to send a message that vulgar, verbal attacks on journalists are not acceptable.”